Saturday, May 26, 2007

Today is John Wayne's 100th Birthday

John Wayne, the famous Academy Award winning movie actor, would have been 100 years old today. He was born as Marion Robert Morrison in Winterset, Iowa on 26 May 1907 to Clyde and Mary (Brown) Morrison. An extensive biography is provided at

John Wayne's researched ancestry is at You can click on "See my Tree" link under his picture to see what somebody has found about his ancestry. I was surprised that they didn't have more down his Buck line, since there are several more generations readily available in databases and on web pages. There are also quite a few GEDCOM's in the Rootsweb WorldConnect database, but most are as poor as the one above.

I know that Michael John Neill had some of the census records for Marion/John on his census pages, but they aren't there any longer due to Ancestry's "request."

I easily found the Clyde Morrison family in the 1910 census in Madison township, Madison County, Iowa with 2 year old Marion R. Morrison (NARA T624, Roll 412, ED 31, Page 2A).

In the 1920 census, the Clyde Morrison family was in Glendale, Los Angeles County, California with 12 year old Marion M. Morrison (NARA T625, Roll 102, ED 26, page 1A).

In the 1930 census, the Clyde Morrison family does not include Marion/John - but they live in Long Beach, Los Angeles county, California (NARA T626, Roll 129, ED 1125, page 3A).

I looked for him as Marion Morrison, Michael Morrison and John Wayne in the 1930 census in all of California, but did not find him. Was he not enumerated? He had just started his acting career. Perhaps someone else can.

Marion Morrison was an 8th cousin to me through the colonial Knowlton family of Ipswich MA and the colonial Wheeler family of Concord MA. My colonial Buck line is in the Cambridge MA area while his is in Connecticut.

"John Wayne" was interred at Pacific View Memorial Park in corona Del Mar (Orange county) CA after his death on 11 June 1979. His gravestone includes this quotation: "Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday."

Anyway - happy 100th birthday to the Duke!

Behind the Scenes - Ancestry

Hugh Watkins in his new genealogy blog linked to a post by Steve Johnson at about Ancestry marketing strategies.

Steve started the Free on Ancestry web page that was a very useful tool, but he took the site down at Ancestry's "request."

The money quotes from Steve's post include:

"The needs of genealogists are very simple. They want to know if has records pertinent to their research. No one wants to use to share GEDCOMs, or build a family tree, or any of that geeky Web 2.0 stuff. All they want is to search records."

"So now, is in deep doo doo. They're losing money. They spent a lot of money building stuff that they're users are not using. They have competitors, serious competitors, rising up in the ranks. They're focusing on building their brand, while their competitors are focusing on building market share."

Read the whole article. My judgment is that this is not "sour grapes" but a reasonable interpretation of what has happened at Ancestry over the last six months based on the observations and experience of a longtime affiliate. As such, it is illuminating and disappointing.

Steve also has a wonderful web site at that I use all the time to find cemetery listings.

Thanks to Hugh for his post.

1940 Census Questions

Looking ahead 5 years to when the 1940 US census will be released, I wondered what questions would be asked of each family. I found this list at the IPUMS site They also have the 1940 census form at so you can see the format. One of the features of this census is that the detailed information (Questions 35 to 50) were asked only for two persons on each page (out of 40).

Schedule No. 1 – Population.
State ________,

Incorporated place ________.

Ward of city _________;

Unincorporated place [Name of unincorporated place having 100 or more inhabitants] _______________________.

County _______________.

Township or other division of county ________________________.

Block Nos. ___________;

Institution [Name of institution and lines on which entries are made] _________________________________.

1. Street, avenue, road, etc.
2. House number (in cities or towns).

Household Data:
3. Number of household in order of visitation.
4. Home owned (O) or rented (R).
5. Value of home, if owned, or monthly rental, if rented.
6. Does this household live on a farm? (Yes or No).
7. Name of each person whose usual place of residence on April 1, 1940, was in this household. Be sure to include:
a) Persons temporarily absent from house-hold. Write "Ab" after names of such persons.
b) Children under 1 year of age. Write "Infant" if child has not been given a first name.

c) Enter X after name of person furnishing information.
8. Relationship of this person to the head of the household, as wife, daughter, father, mother-in-law, grandson, lodger, lodger’s wife, servant, hired hand, etc..

Personal Description:
9. Sex – Male (M), Female (F).
10. Color or race.
11. Age at last birthday.
12. Marital status – Single (S), Married (M), Widowed (Wd), Divorced (D).

13. Attended school or college any time since March 1, 1940.
14. Highest grade of school completed.

Place of Birth:
15. a) If born in the United States, give State, Territory, or possession.

b) If foreign born, give country in which birthplace was situated on January 1, 1937.

c) Distinguish Canada-French from Canada-English and Irish Free State (Eire) from Northern Ireland.
16. Citizenship of the foreign born.

Residence, April 1, 1935: In what place did this person live on April 1, 1935? For a person who, on April 1, 1935, was living in the same house as at present, enter in Col. 17 "Same house," and for one living in a different house but in the same city or town, enter "Same place," leaving Cols. 18, 19, and 20 blank, in both instances. For a person who lived in a different place, enter city or town, county, and State, as directed in the Instructions. (Enter actual place of residence, which may differ from mail address.)
17. City, town, or village having 2,500 or more inhabitants. Enter "R" for all other places.
18. County.
19. State (or Territory or foreign country).
20. On a farm? (Yes or No).

Persons 14 Years Old and Over – Employment Status:
21. Was this person AT WORK for pay or profit in private or nonemergency Gov’t. work during week of March 24-30? (Yes or No).
22. If not, was he at work on, or assigned to, public EMERGENCY WORK (WPA, NYA, CCC, etc.) during week of March 24-30? (Yes or No). If neither at work nor assigned to public emergency work. ("No" in Cols. 21 and 22).
23. Was this person SEEKING WORK? (Yes or No).
24. If not seeking work, did he HAVE A JOB, business, etc.? (Yes or No).
25. Indicate whether engaged in home house-work (H), in school (S), unable to work (U), or other (Ot).
26. Number of hours worked during week of March 24-30, 1940. If seeking work or assigned to public emergency work. ("Yes" in Col. 22 or 23).
27. Duration of unemployment up to March 30, 1940 – in weeks.

Occupation, Industry and Class of Worker: For a person at work, assigned to public emergency work, or with a job ("Yes" in Col. 21, 22, or 24), enter present occupation, industry, and class of worker. For a person seeking work ("Yes" in Col. 23):

a) If he has previous work experience, enter last occupation, industry, and class of worker; or

b) If he does not have previous work experience, enter "New worker" in Col. 28, and leave Cols. 29 and 30 blank.
28. Occupation: Trade, profession, or particular kind of work, as frame spinner, salesman, rivet heater ,music teacher.
29. Industry: Industry or business, as cotton mill, retail grocery, farm, shipyard, public school.
30. Class of worker.
31. Number of weeks worked in 1939 (Equivalent full-time weeks).
Income in 1939 (12 months ended December 31, 1939):
32. Amount of money wages or salary received (including commissions).
33. Did this person receive income of $50 or more from sources other than money wages or salary (Yes or No).
34. Number of farm schedule.

Supplementary Questions 35-50 asked only of a 5% sample of the population, for persons 14 years old and over. (For persons enumerated on lines 14 and 29).

35. Name.

Place of Birth of Father and Mother:

a) If born in the United States, give State, Territory, or possession.

b) If foreign born, give country in which birthplace was situated on January 1, 1937.

c) Distinguish Canada-French from Canada-English and Irish Free State (Eire) from Northern Ireland.
36. Father.
37. Mother
38. Language spoken in home in earliest childhood.

Veterans: Is this person a veteran of the United States military forces; or the wife, widow, or under-18-year-old child of a veteran?
39. If so, enter "Yes."
40. If child, is veteran-father dead? (Yes or No)
41. War or military service.

Social Security:
42. Does this person have a Federal Social Security Number? (Yes or No)
43. Were deductions for Federal Old-Age Insurance or Railroad Retirement made from this person’s wages or salary in 1939? (Yes or No)
44. If so, were deductions made from (1) all, (2) one-half or more, (3) part, but less than half, of wages or salary?

Usual Occupation, Industry, and Class of Worker: Enter that occupation which the person regards as his usual occupation and at which he is physically able to work. If the person is unable to determine this, enter that occupation at which he has worked longest during the past 10 years and at which he is physically able to work. Enter also usual industry and usual class of worker.
45. Usual occupation.
46. Usual industry.
47. Usual class of worker.

For all women who are or have been married:
48. Has this woman been married more than once? (Yes or No)
49. Age at first marriage.
50. Number of children ever born (do not include stillbirths).


It's really too bad that they didn't ask these questions 35 to 50 of all adults rather than just those persons on lines 14 and 29.

I can hardly wait for this census to be released! I wonder which commercial genealogy service will index it and put the images online? I wonder if FamilySearch, or some other web site, will have it indexed and online for free?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Berry people in the Census

I did some census research for one of my CVGS colleagues this week - she was searching for a Littleberry Allen in KY and was having a hard time finding him and his son and grandson, all with the same given name. I ended up finding most of them in the 1850 to 1880 census, but they used initials, "Little" or "Berry" in some entries. It was fun.

Of course, that got me to wondering if there were other people with a given name containing "Berry" or surnames containing "Berry."

In the 1900 census, there are 49,499 people with the surname Berry, and 20,335 with the surname Barry. Included are:

* Blacksie Berry in Smith County TX
* Berry Berry in Mason county KY
* Little H. Berry in King County WA
* Strawberry Berry in Escambia County AL
* Thorn Berry in Sacramento County CA
* Green Berry in Kanawha County WV

People with surnames containing Berry include (in 1900):

* Rosie Mulberry in Scott county KY
* Pink Raspberry in Jefferson County AL
* Ruby Raspberry in Pemiscot county MO
* Rose Blackberry in New York County NY
* Frank Blueberry in Belknap county NH

People with given names containing Berry (there are 8,593 of them in the 1900 census) include:

* Berry Bramble in King County WA
* Berry Bush in Saline County IL
* Blackberry McGill in Cannon County TN
* Raspberry Stone in Tuscaloosa County AL
* Littleberry Hill in Jefferson County AL
* Greenberry Hill in Clay County AL
* Greenberry Shufflebean in Davis County IA
* Mulberry Burnham in Cumberland county ME

I looked for Strawberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, Raspberry, Lingonberry, Littleberry, Greenberry, Redberry, Mulberry, etc. What other Berries should I consider?

You get the idea! What were their parents thinking? That was fun, though!

FGS/ACPL Conference Early Registration Deadline is June 1

The 2007 conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) is in Fort Wayne, Indiana from August 15 to 18 at the Grand Wayne Convention Center. The conference is also sponsored by the Allen County Public Library (ACPL). The early registration $150 for the full conference) deadline is June 1. Single day registration fees are $80 each day. After June 1, the registration is $185 for the full conference. The APG/Professional Management Conference is on August 15, and costs $110 for members of APG.

The Conference Program is at There are 21 time slots, and about 200 separate talks in the FGS conference. So many talks, so little time!

The talks that I find most intriguing include:

1) "Rub-a-dub-dub/Occupations in our Family Tub" by Patricia Walls Stamm.

2) "The Twilight Zone ... Strange Web Sites for Family History Research" by Christina Ann Staley.

3) "Hookers, Crooks and Kooks: Aunt Merle didn't Run a Boarding House" by Jana Sloan Broglin.

4) "Finding UFO Ancestors: Unidentified Family of Origin" by Michael John Neill.

There are many more talks of course, but those titles really grabbed my eye! They must have attended the Ken Aitken lesson on genealogy presentation topics.

There are so many talks that I would love to hear...but I'm still not sure that we can make it to Fort Wayne.

I could find nothing in the registration brochure or at the web site about the syllabus (I assume that there will be one!). Will they be on paper, or on CDROM, or both? Can they be purchased after the conference? If so, how much and where?

Hurray! Hurray! Genealogists Cheer!

The front page of my local San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper has the headline: "90 million US war records go online; genealogists cheer." The article, by AP writer Donna Borak, describes the Military collection of US records from Jamestown through the Vietnam War. It was a great, long article. A link to an open version of this article is

I found the article in 197 newspapers in a Google News search. It's nice to see genealogy research get some recognition. There are quotes from Tim Sullivan, Curt Witcher and Megan Smolenyak. Megan said "The Internet has created this massive democratization in the whole family-history world. It's like a global game of tag."

The articles don't say that many of these records were already online at and other web sites. Nor does it note that some of the really useful records - like the Revolutionary War and Civil War Pension Files - are not online in their entirety.

Sullivan is quoted as saying has 900,000 subscribers, and the Military records were part of a $100 million investment.

Every time an article is published like this, many people who have an interest in genealogy and family history think to themselves - "I wonder how I can find out about my ancestors who ..." and some of those people decide to find out if there is a local genealogy society that might help them.

Is your local genealogy society ready to welcome them? Does your local genealogy society have a presence in the local newspaper? Does your local genealogy society have a presence on the Internet? Does your local library have the name and contact information for your local society? Can someone Google "chula vista genealogy" (substitute your city name) and find the local genealogy society? Being available for questions like these is a focus for my local society.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Family Tree Magazine has ... blogs!

The latest Family Tree Magazine newsletter informs us that Family Tree Magazine has started three new genealogy blogs. They are:

1) Genealogy Insider blog with Diane Haddad - what's happening in the genealogy industry?

2) Photo Detective blog with Maureen A. Taylor - interpreting photographs sent in by readers.

3) The Now What? blog with no named host, but Diane has written every post so far - expert answers for your genealogy questions.

All three look and feel good - and if this team keeps up their near-daily postings they will be very valuable additions to the genea-blogosphere.

I have already added them to my Bloglines account so that I can read their content daily.

Useful links for databases

I often want to use the Card Catalog or see what new databases have been added recently. For some reason, Ancestry does not make these links easy to find on the home page - They do have the "all databases" link at the bottom of the home page. If you click on the "Search" tab, you can find a link to the Card Catalog and All Databases in the right hand text box on the Search page.

So as a service to all users, here are some helpful links (and now I can find them easily!):

1) Ancestry Card Catalog:

In this search, you can use names, locations or key words to search for entries for your family searches.

2) Ancestry List of New and Updated Databases:

This list is very useful if you haven't kept up to speed on new additions to the database list.

3) Ancestry List of All Databases (24,538 today): Here

This list is ordered by number of names in the records. You can search by record type by clicking on a topic in the left text box.

This list also denotes which databases are FREE to non-subscribers.

There! I hope doesn't mind me helping researchers out with this. Maybe they will put these very useful links on their home pages so I don't have to search for this post later on.

Searching the Ancestry Military Collection

Following yesterday's announcement of the Ancestry Military Collection at, I went searching for a list of the databases included in the collection.

There is a search box for the whole collection at You can input a surname and refine the search with a given name, a state, a particular war, etc.

A complete list of the databases can be found at There appear to be over 700 entries in this list.

The indexes for all of the databases appear to be free to non-subscribers. This is a shrewd marketing move by

One of the features of this collection is US Newsreels from World War II. A newsreel video starts when you go to the web page, but it is often broken up by delays. I really don't like that feature!

I put in "Seaver" and it came up with hits for 121 databases from the Revolutionary War to the Viet Nam War. The one I found interesting was the Rejected Revolutionary War Pension Claims. There was only one Seaver listed - Joseph Seaver of Lancaster MA. The record was a printed page from a book, not a handwritten record. The soldier's claims could not be proven by his widow, Abigail, and therefore a pension was not granted.

I will explore this list a bit more to try to find more nuggets of my own ancestry and the families in my one-name studies. This is really fun!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ancestry launches US Military Collection

I saw them last night while I was gathering the genealogy news for the month - about 100 databases with US military records on

Juliana Smith has the details at and Dick Eastman, DearMyrtle and other bloggers have announced it also. I was busy doing real research so I missed the first wave of announcements.

From now through June 6 (D-day), the entire Military Records collection will be accessible for FREE at Go for it!

CVGS Research Group today

We had our monthly CVGS Research Group today, with 16 attendees, including 3 visitors. It was an interesting and genealogy focused meeting!

I led off with the Genealogy News highlights for May - you can see it here at the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe (our CVGS blog). There was a lot of news this month!

We hooked up my computer to the projector, but couldn't access the Internet. Unfortunately, the wireless signal was too weak to use again. I had saved the CV Genealogy Cafe blog pages to my flash drive, so we used that to demonstrate the CVGS blog information.

Joan has a difficult problem - her John Robinson Hall (born 21 Mar 1886 in PA) has a marriage record in 1917 and a World War I draft registration in 1918 in California, but then there are no other records for him. He apparently abandoned the family in the 1920's. However, the marriage record lists his father as John S. Hall, born in Ireland, and Mary McLaughlin, born in PA. Joan would love to find a birth certificate and a death certificate, but has been stymied to date. We suggested trolling for the family in the 1900 census - and if in PA then writing for a birth certificate in that county. City directories might determine the approximate years they resided in PA.

Barbara wanted to know how to find an accurate list of children of an ancestor - one record says 16 children, but they can find records for only 14 children. We suggested listing the children by birth year and seeing if there are "holes" that might indicate a child that died young. Then, if they know the locality, they could look for cemetery records in that locality.

Bill was a visitor that just walked in, and wondered about his Young family that received land in Ireland in the 1650 time frame. We suggested he review the British Isles Research Guide and some UK sites such as

Elsie was a visitor, and was amazed at the level of knowledge in the group. She recently asked me to research her family, and I have found several generations. She needs to do more research to find additional information.

Susi and her daughter-in-law have been researching the Allen family of Henrico County VA and Boone and Green Counties KY. Littleberry Allen (b 1803) wrote a long document that identifies his siblings but not his children. They also have records for a Berry W. Allen (born 1854) whose mother is Sarah Ann Moody, but they don't know Barry's father's name - the assumption is that his father is a son of Littleberry Allen. They have found Barry in the 1880 census, but can't find them in the 1860 or 1870 census.

Martha received some land deed data from Frederick County MD about her Burkett and House families, but there is not enough information to identify siblings or parents of her Burkett House. We suggested looking for church records and probate records that might identify family groups.

We passed around examples of a Social Security SS-5 application, a World War I draft registration card, a list of deed abstracts, and several other papers in the "show and tell" part of the session. We packed a lot into 90 minutes today! It was exciting to have such a good turnout (20% of our membership).

Census Questions - 1850 to 2000

I saw a link to the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) web site that has links to all of the questions asked on each of the Federal Census from 1850 to 2000. The links to the forms and questions are on

The page says:

"This section contains facsimile copies of the enumeration forms used in the decennial census of the United States from 1860 through 2000, and the 2000-2005 American Community Survey. Most of the forms are contained in Bureau of the Census, 200 Years of U.S. Census Taking: Population and Housing Questions, 1790-1990. While the facsimilies convey the physical layout of the documents used to enumerate the population, they are not always clear enough to actually read the questions. For this reason, we have also included text of the questions. Enumerator instructions for the early years – beginning with 1850 -- and general instructions included with the self-enumeration forms in the later years are also reproduced here."

We are all familiar with what appears on the census forms from 1790 to 1930. What about the years that are not available online yet?

In the 1940 census, they were asked "where did you live on April 1, 1935?" There were several questions about employment. Two persons on each census page were asked "Does this person have a Federal Social Security Number?" and "Are you or have you been a member of the Armed Forces?" Women were asked if they had been married more than once, age at first marriage and number of live births.

In the 1950 census, 1 out of every 5 people was asked about income and other income, and if it was a head of household, then they were asked how much the entire family earned. The last person on each page (line 30) had to answer additional questions about marital status and employment.

In the 1960 census, the form was mailed to households and then the enumerator visited the household to pick up the form and check more boxes on the form about housing and house contents. They asked every person about education, employment, and income - each with several sub-questions.

For each house, they asked "Do you have any television sets?" The question is qualified: "Count only sets in working order. Count floor, table, and portable television sets as well as combinations." Available answers are: "1 set", "2 sets or more", or "No television sets".

They also asked about a variety of items and services in 1960: fuels used for heating, clothes washer, clothes dryer, televisions, radios, air conditioning, food freezer (separate from refrigerator), number of bathrooms, source of water, source of sewer, telephones, and automobiles.

Obviously, we have to wait a while to see what our families wrote down in response to these questions. I can hardly wait for the 1940 census to be available so I can see how my grandparents and great-grandparents responded.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Who is the Ancestry Insider?

There is a new genealogy blog called the The Ancestry Insider. Fittingly, it has a green coloring (at least for now). The description reads:

"The unofficial, unauthorized view of the big four genealogy and family history websites:,,, and Since the parent companies of these sites rarely publicly comment on ANYTHING, there's a big need for an unofficial outlet. I'll be upfront in saying I'm sympathetic to the problems faced by these companies. If you have an inside scoop send it to Your identity will remain completely confidential."

This blog has been online since 3 April. There are some very interesting posts
in the Archives.

I look forward to reading everything the Insider posts, and I've added it to my list in bloglines.

Thanks to Chris Dunham for his post providing a link. I notice that Hugh Watkins found the Insider on the first day of operation - he left a comment!

Hotel Wi-Fi experiences

Jasia has a helpful post about hotel wireless internet access at Her post links to the HotelChatter site that has lists of the Best Wi-Fi Hotels in 2007 and Worst Wi-Fi Hotels in 2007.

My own recent experience is useful to recount here:

1) We stayed at the Omni hotel in downtown San Diego back in early April. They had a choice of Ethernet or wireless in the room. I tried to connect via wireless but had to contact the help center. I finally opted to use the Ethernet connection, which worked fine and was free.

2) We stayed at a Best Western in Chelmsford MA in early May. I tried to connect using the wireless in the room, but even after talking to the help center, I was unable to connect reliably. It did connect reliably in the hotel lobby area, however. It was free.

3) We stayed in a Best Western in Los Alamitos CA last weekend. They had only an Ethernet connection in the room, and it worked easily and was free.

I was surprised to see the list of decent hotels on the Worst WiFi list. You would think that those that cater to business travelers would ensure quick and easy access to the Internet for their customers. Many hotels charge a daily fee for access - and business travelers can charge that as an expense.

Thanks, Jasia, for an interesting article and useful links.

Finding Bresee data in traditional resources

I had many earlier posts about my search for the parents of Cornelia Bresee (1780-1840) - see here and here.

The microfilm that I ordered on 29 March finally came into the FHC last week, so I went down today to review it and capture whatever information that might be helpful. The book is "The Bresee family of Livingston Manor, Columbia County, New York" by Revo Morrey, 3 volumes, written in 1945, filmed by GSU in 1972 on microfilm reel FHL US/CAN 0,897,238.

There are three separate volumes to this work, which is apparently on the shelf at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

The first volume is the handwritten notes taken by Revo Morrey of abstracts of baptisms, marriages and deaths from church record books and other resources, probably all from the FHL. The author doesn't cover ALL of the known churches, but she found many of them. The first volume also has the first half of family group sheets made from the records that she abstracted.

The second volume has the rest of the family group sheets, which were all alphabetically arranged. On these group sheets, the author does not try to connect poeple to parents without a record, so there are many "unconnected" families."

The third volume contains a summary of the towns in this area, and then a genealogy report of the descendants of Christoffel Bresee, based on the records found in Volume 1.

I found the entry for a Cornelis Bresie (parents Petrus and Maria Bresie) baptized on 3 December 1780 in St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Churchtown NY. Hmmm. The IGI says that this is Cornelia Bresie, daughter of Petrus and Maria Bresie, baptized on 5 December 1780 in St. Thomas Luterhan Church in Churchtown. Hence, there are possibly two errors in the Morrey work in the one baptism entry that I am really interested in! Uh oh! Just darn! Son of a gun... [note to self, calm down, don't cuss...]

Many of these church records in Columbia, Rensselaer and Dutchess Counties in New York have been transcribed and published by Arthur C.M. Kelly in the 1960 to 1990 time frame. What a massive and well-done task! All of them are available on microfilm from the FHL. Some of them are on the shelf at the San Diego FHC - I found 7 of the 24 works by Mr. Kelly on the book shelves at the FHC. I'm hoping that more of them are on the shelves at other local repositories.

It looks like I need to order the microfilm with the baptism records for St. Thomas Lutheran Church of Churchtown in order to see if the entry is Cornelis or Cornelia and if the date is December 3 or 5. Unfortunately, the records in the Kelly books are transcriptions of the original records. I wonder if the original records are available anywhere? At the church? At a local historical society? Kelly must have add access to them in the last 40 years.

I limited my search in the IGI and other online resources to just Bresee/Brazee/Brissee/Brusie/etc. spellings of the surname. It is apparent, from the Morrey book, that some records spelled the name with a capital P also. That may explain why many families seem incomplete in the IGI records I did find. It is evident to me that Revo Morrey and Arthur Kelly reviewed the same church books - but they may have interpreted the handwritten Dutch text differently.

So it's back to the drawing board. I need to print out the 60 images that I captured on my flash drive today (all I could get on my 500 mb drive, at 8.2 mb each, there is a lot more to capture!). Then I need to check the Morrey genealogy report with my own database from the IGI, and then go look for more Presee/variant data in the IGI. Finally, I need to check all of the Morrey abstracts from the church records to ensure they are consistent with the IGI records.

I guess this is having fun...I wish that all of the transcribed data was consistent!

12 "Suggestions for Researchers"

One of the questions that I was prepared to answer on Sunday at Questing Heirs was "What are the most important things for a beginning genealogist to know?" I was going to just read off Bill Dollarhide's 45 laws or rules, but I thought it would be too long. I decided to be serious and try to make my own list. We ran out of time before I was asked the question, but since I have it written down, I thought I would put it in a post.

I won't call them commandments, even though I put them in that format. Let's call them "Suggestions for Researchers:"

1) Thou shalt interview all of your living family members, and collect or borrow their family papers, photographs, books, etc..

2) Thou shalt learn to use the "tools" of the profession - pedigree chart, group sheet, time line, forms, software - and put your data on them.

3) Thou shalt educate yourself about genealogy and family history, and join local, regional or national genealogy societies.

4) Thou shalt work backwards in time in your research - one generation at a time.

5) Thou shalt learn to use the scientific method - collect data, hypothesize, analyze, identify needed data, find new data, then do it again - to evaluate all of your evidence.

6) Thou shalt visit all repositories in your locality, and those where your ancestors lived.

7) Thou shalt use the Internet to find what other researchers have posted - web sites, databases, message boards, mailing lists, etc.

8) Thou shalt understand that the Internet does not have ALL genealogy and family history data - and won't for a very long time.

9) Thou shalt use the data of other researchers - from repositories, books, periodicals, or the Internet - as a "finding aid" only, not as gospel truth.

10) Thou shalt strive to find primary information, original source documents and direct evidence of all names, dates, locations and relationships.

11) Thou shalt apply the Genealogical Proof Standard to all of your work.

12) Thou shalt share the fruits of your labor with other researchers, including sources and evidence evaluation.


Of course, each one of those "suggestions" has been the subject of blog posts, periodical articles or even books in past genealogical times. There are many articles and web pages at Cyndi's List for Beginners - see them at

What do you think? What have I missed here? Any more "suggestions?" Any links to other lists of genealogy rules, laws or commandments?

Monday, May 21, 2007

CVGS Program today - "Naming Customs"

We had our monthly Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) meeting today at the Library following our usual format.

The speaker today was CVGS member Bernice Heiter who spoke on "Naming Customs." Bernice's granddaughter, Kara, put together a PowerPoint presentation to serve as a visual aid - it was very well done and provided excellent information. Bernice covered the typical Irish, Scottish, English and German naming patterns and noted that these may have been used in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. She also discussed the Patronymic Naming Patterns from Scandinavia, demonstrating how the children took the father's given name as a surname and -sen/-son or -datter/dotter as a suffix. The use of a Christian saint's name as a first name and a secular name as a second name was also described. Finally, she discussed "dit" names used frequently in French Canada. All in all, it was an interesting presentation.

I tried to apply it to my elusive English ancestors from around 1800. I don't know the parents of John Richman (born ca 1788) and Ann Marshman (born ca 1784), married in Hilperton parish, Wiltshire, England on 8 February 1811. They had children Elizabeth, Sarah, John, Ann, James, Thomas, and Mary.

If this family used the English naming pattern, then John Richman's parents would have been John and Sarah, and Ann's parent's would have been James and Elizabeth. Of course, there is no guarantee that they used the naming pattern.

I have collected all of the Richman baptisms, marriages and deaths from Hilperton and the surrounding parishes, and there is not a couple with the names John and Sarah Richman in the lot, let alone in the 1750 to 1800 time period. I have about 25 John Richman's in this database, many without a spouse, so it is possible that a John married a Sarah and that it was not recorded. Oh well!

Della's Journal - Week 21 (May 21-27, 1929)

This is Installment 21 of the Journal of Della (Smith) Carringer, my great-grandmother, who resided at 2115 30th Street in San Diego in 1929.

The "players" and "setting" are described here. Pictures of some of the players are here. Last week's Journal entry is here.

Here is Week 21:


Tuesday, May 21: I went to town, deposited Mrs. Nolan's $55, took out $5. A[ustin] put out Lippia around trees. I got Ed some Poisoned Barley for his squirrels & rabbits. Ma washed, I hung out clothes. Mrs. Auble washed. Letter from Mr. Montgomery & Stella. Wrote Ed.

Wednesday, May 22: Cleaned in house. Expect Aunt L[ibbie] & Myrtle Sat[urday].

Thursday, May 23: Cleaned carpets. Ironed.

Friday, May 24: I went to town & we finished cleaning. A[ustin] took treatment. Mrs. Baxter died last night (Elizabeth's mother).

Saturday, May 25 (cool, fog or light drizzle): Aunt L[ibbie] & Myrtle came. Ross Lourers (???) & Mrs. Quick were here after 5 P.M, then George came in wining (?) for them. Drizzled a little enough to wet pavement. Mr Nolands moved to Ocean Beach.

Sunday, May 26: Lyle's cleaned Garage. We did not go anyplace. Visited. Myrtle & Aunt L[ibbie] slept up stairs. Mr & Mrs. Brown & friend called on Aunt L & M.

Monday, May 27: Mrs. Baxter buried. I fixed flowers, went to funeral. Myrtle took me down then she went shopping, got her some dress goods (lovely) at Marston's. She took her mother riding then the Man & little boy came to call on them in evening. We had a fat hen for dinner, had Emily & Mrs. Auble over. They are painting & papering their hall.


Visitors Aunt Libbie [Crouch, "Ma's (Abby Smith) sister] and Myrtle [Milbank, Libbie's daughter] came to visit from Long Beach. They slept upstairs, which is the second story apartment above 2115 30th Street. I don't know if they had rented that apartment before, or perhaps that is where the Nolan's lived until they moved to Ocean Beach.

From the handwriting, it looks like Della forgot to write something on several days and just scribbled a short note sometime later.

A fun weekend in Long Beach

My blog postings were sparse over the weekend because we went to Long Beach over the weekend. We got there after noon on Friday and visited the Aquarium of the Sea in downtown Long Beach. This is a wonderful aquarium. We went to Seal Beach for dinner and walked along the main street afterwards. On Saturday, we headed for Ports of Call in San Pedro. This is a shopping area along the port waterway. There was a "Woody" car show in the parking lot with music and booths nearby. We took a free hour-long LA harbor cruise - it was amazing to see a working port in action - several container ships were being loaded. We ate dinner on Alamitos Bay and enjoyed seeing the teens in their prom outfits.

On Sunday, we had an early lunch and showed up at the Questing Heirs Genealogical Society meeting at about 12:30 PM. The program started at 1:15 PM, with host John McCoy interviewing me on:

What is a "chula"?
How did CVGS put the cemetery CD together?
How did you get started in genealogy?
What are the uses of a blog?

John had emailed a list of questions to me so I had prepared some comments on each question, including the ones he didn't ask because we ran out of time. I will post some of my answers during the week. During the interview, I had a saved copy of my blog on the screen and was able to show several features of a genealogy blog to the audience.

During the snack break between programs, I put my "Genealogy is Fun(ny)" PowerPoint presentation on as a slide show, and some people sat there laughing, including my wife (who hadn't seen it before).

After a short business society meeting, I was introduced to speak on "Finding Your Elusive Ancestors in the Census Haystack." I had switched this talk to a PowerPoint presentation in the last month so that I didn't have to make new foils when changes occurred - and I took the opportunity to modify some charts to make them more readable. The downside is that, with 50 slides for a 60 minute program, I had to move quickly. There were many comments and questions from the audience.

QHGS meets in a church parish hall and the attendees have to sit in hard chairs at round tables. The slides are projected on a wall to the left of the podium, while most of the audience is to the right of the podium. They should either mover the speaker to the left of the projector or move the projector to the right of the podium.

All in all it was a fun exchange, and I enjoyed talking to many QHGS members. My thanks to President Liz Myers and John McCoy for making this event a success and a lot of fun for me and my wife. The equipment worked well. I hope that the QH members got some useful tips out of the presentation to help them find their elusive ancestors hiding in the census records.

We drove home after the talk, stopping in San Juan Capistrano for dinner, and getting home at about 7 PM. I was so tired last night that I couldn't raise my fingers to the keyboard to blog about it - but I did find the energy to watch "Desperate Housewives" at 9 PM. I keep hoping that they will do something like "Desperate Genealogists" where the men and ladies on Wisteria Lane date and bed some lonely genealogists.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

NGS NewsMagazine - April/May/June 2007 Issue

The April/May/June 2007 issue of the NGS NewsMagazine (Volume 33, Number 2) is chock full of interesting and useful articles and news items.

The Table of Contents includes the following Feature Articles:
  • It's spring in Virginia, by Barbara Vines Little - page 11
  • A big Thank You to our 2006 volunteers - page 12
  • NGS Statement of Financial Position - page 14
  • Reminiscences of Salt Lake City, by Linda Veltze - page 16
  • The Virginia Peninsula - birth place of a colony, a state, and a nation, by Eric G. Grundset - page 18
  • What is the standard of proof in genealogy, by Thomas W. Jones - page 22
  • Of dog shows and standards, by Elissa Scalise Powell - page 27
  • Traffic and trade on the colonial coast, by Jeffrey L. Haines - page 30
  • Developing good research habits, by Paula Stuart-Warren - page 43
  • Preparing a successful lineage society application, by Barbara Jean Mathews - page 46
  • Case Study: Searching for Babe Ruth, by Beau Sharbrough - page 52.
There are also Columns:
  • National Archives, by Claire Prechtel-Kluskens - page 35
  • Beginning Genealogy, by Gary M. and Diana Crisman Smith - page 40
  • Software Review, by Barbara Schenck - page 56
  • Technology, by Drew Smith - page 58
  • Writing Family History, by Harold E. Hinds - page 62.
I especially enjoyed the Thomas Jones article about the Genealogical Proof Standard - he used a case study example to demonstrate each part of the GPS.

The Jeffrey Haines article about colonial trade was intriguing - you get a good overview of how the colonies traded with each other and with Europe and the Caribbean.

The Beginning Genealogy column by the Smiths discussed research methods, and defined direct lineage, family group lineage, collateral lines, cluster genealogy and contemporary descendancy or family reunion research. This was a wonderful article for beginners and experts alike.

The Babe Ruth case study by Beau Sharbrough was interesting also. He found the Babe in the 1900, 1910 and 1930 census, and World War I and II draft registration cards. Beau used an Archives image, not an Ancestry image for show and tell.

The software review was "Family Atlas" - an excellent summary of the capabilities of this package.

The focus of the NGS NewsMagazine is on the breadth of genealogy research topics - beginner to expert, traditional to online resources, databases to publications. That is much different from some of the other popular periodicals. I think that we have to read ALL of these periodicals to be successful at genealogy research.